Plastic in construction: Uses and Properties
Plastic is the name generally given to a wide range of synthetic materials that are polymers. Plastic is used widely by the construction industry in a wide range of applications because of its versatility and durability.
Some of the common uses of plastic in construction include:
• Cladding panels
• Pipes and gutters
• Windows and doors
• Wall linings
• Floor covering
• Ceiling panels
• Roof Coverings
• Sinks, basin, bath and showers
• Insulation materials
Now let us look at the properties of Plastic as a construction material.
The list of plastic materials is diverse and each has its own peculiar properties to suit its particular uses.
Appearance: Various models of plastics are available in the market, be it transparent, opaque, colored etc. This provides with a wide range of choices to predetermine the appearance of a particular design
Chemical Resistance: Plastics offer great resistance against chemicals and solvents. Chemical composition of plastics during manufacturing process will decide the degree of its chemical resistance. For example, corrosive metals are replaced by plastics in areas of piping.
Dimensional Stability: Thermo-plastic types of plastics can be easily reshaped and reused by the application of heat. But in the case of thermo-setting type of plastics, there is no possibility of reshaping or restructuring.
Ductility of Plastics: Plastic has very low ductility. When tension is applied on plastic member they fail without any prior indication.
Durability: Plastics that have sufficient surface hardness have good durability. Sometimes, in case of thermo-plastics, they might be affected by termites and rodents. Though it is not a serious problem as plastics have no nutrition value.
Electric Insulation: Plastics are excellent electric insulators. Thus they are used as linings for electric cables and for electronics tools.
Finishing: Any type of finishing treatment can be given to plastics.
Fire resistance: Plastics depending on their structure and material may display various degrees of fire resistance.
Fixing: Fixing of plastic materials is fairly easy.